Skip to main content

Caius Fellow honoured for PhD contributions

  • 09 November 2021

Gonville & Caius College Fellow Dr Michele Simoncelli has received the 2020 Chorafas Foundation Award from the Weizmann Institute of Science for his contributions to the theory of heat conduction in solids during his PhD thesis.

Dr Simoncelli, who was elected to Caius last month after being nominated following the Research Fellowship competition, was presented with the prize in Lausanne, Switzerland on Monday in an awards ceremony delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

He was a doctoral student at the Theory and Simulation of Materials (THEOS) lab of Professor Nicola Marzari and NCCR MARVEL, a centre on Computational Design and Discovery of Novel Materials created by the Swiss National Science Foundation.

His PhD thesis is about two novel equations: the first sheds light on how heat propagates at the quantum mechanical level, and the second generalises the 200-year old Fourier heat equation for the temperature, explaining why heat propagation can become fluid-like, rather than diffusive, in electronic or phononic devices.

The research on heat conduction performed by Dr Simoncelli has straightforward applications in several technologies. For example, it can be used to understand how to reduce the overheating problem of electronic devices. It is also relevant for the aerospace industry, since it allows to engineer heat-insulating materials suitable to shield spaceships from extreme temperatures. Finally, it is relevant to the field of renewable energies, where it is currently employed to develop strategies to increase the efficiency of processes that can convert heat, a waste product of several industrial processes, into electricity.

Read more on the NCCR MARVEL website:

The Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation awards scientific prizes for outstanding work in selected fields in the engineering sciences, medicine and the natural sciences. It rewards research characterised by its high potential for practical application and by the special significance attached to its aftermath. Every year, partner universities in Europe, North America and Asia evaluate the research work of their graduating doctorate students and propose the best for prizing.

For more information about The Dimitris N. Chorafas Foundation Awards, visit:

Share Share